Happy New Year’s Eve

Our wish is for everyone to have a safe and happy evening tonight.  While most of our readers are enjoying winter in the northern hemisphere we want to bless you with us basking in the warmth of a summer day on the Beagle Channel near Ushuaia.

Wooly and Raeski on a blustery summer day at the Beagle Channel.
e Wooly and Raeski on a blustery summer day at the Beagle Channel.
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Peru – The road to Chivay

Many of you may have noticed I haven’t been entering photo contests recently.  Not to worry, after I catch up with processing photos from our previous trips I will start submitting to the challenges again.  I have over 1,000 photos from our trips to sort and process so for now I’m concentrating on documenting our trips.

You may recall that earlier this year we went to Peru.  After staying in Arequipa we went to Chivay.  It was a long day on the road but there was plenty to see.

We spotted lots of wildlife along the way through what is a seemingly desolate landscape dotted with volcanoes – some smoking, most not.

And we ran across a “must see/do” bucket list item.  The highest outhouses in the world located at Mirador los Andes.  Raeski gave one a try.  At 16,109 feet (4910 meters) you even huff and puff to do that.  🙂

Last but not least is the view of Chivay taken from the rim of Colca Canyon.  This is one of the deepest canyons in the world, even deeper than the Grand Canyon.

The town of Chivay from the top of Colca Canyon.
The town of Chivay from the top of Colca Canyon.

A Formal Party

There must be a party close by.  Everyone looks like they are dressed for a black tie event.  You know, a formal affair with the printed invitations and all.  But we crashed the party and had a lot of fun even if we weren’t dressed to the nines.  And with that, we checked off another item on the bucket list.  We traveled to the end of the world and watched penguins in their natural habitat.

If you’ve seen them on television or in a movie – know this – they are even more adorable and mesmerizing in person.  Athletes in the water and not so much on land which may be why we love them so much.  Their awkwardness on land completely belies the power and grace they possess in the water.

We feel fortunate to have seen them in person.  Sadly, as with many animals, the penguins are suffering from global warming.  Of the 18 species of penguins, 11 are declining in population and considered an extinction risk, two are considered stable and we don’t have enough data on the other five.  Magellanic are at risk because they breed in warmer areas and are susceptible to sunburn.

My hide gets chaffed when I see these magnificent creatures threatened by something we can do something about.  When 97% of scientists believe global warming is caused by man, you just have to wonder about the 3% who aren’t.  Back in the days of tobacco, 5% of scientists – funded by the tobacco industry – didn’t believe smoking was bad for you.  I have ceased calling these people climate change deniers or skeptics.  I believe the proper term for them should be CLIMATE DISINFORMATION PROPOGANDISTS (CDP).

Back in the 1980’s we did something about the hole in the ozone layer over the objections of industries that profited from manufacturing and using fluorocarbons.  Do we miss the jobs that were lost back then?  Or were those jobs really replaced with others that were more environmentally sound?

Anyway, the results are in.  We have succeeded and the ozone layer is rebuilding and the hole is shrinking.  If we choose to listen to reason and science and then act, we may be able to turn back the tide.  Hopefully the human race will wake up and see through the lies of the CDP’s and demand we take action.

And the penguins?  We could watch them for hours.  Waddling about on land, swimming, wading (yes, they do that) and greeting each other as they stroll by each other.  Most of the penguins we saw were Magellanic with the exception of one Gentoo penguin.  He is the handsome fellow with the bright orange beak.  Enjoy the photos.

 

El Fin del Mundo

Living in Chile this last year has enabled us to check off some of the places we have on our ever expanding bucket list.  For the last two weeks we’ve been traveling around the southern tip of South America and got to experience a few more things on the list.

Visiting Torres del Paine and seeing penguins in their natural habitat were on the list.  Seeing a glacier calve an iceberg is another truly worthy item on the list along with seeing really massive icebergs are a spectacle we wish everyone could experience in their life.

But today is all about the southernmost city in the world.  Ushuaia is affectionately known as the city “el fin del mundo” or “the end of the world”.  Chileans will say Puerto Williams is further south but it is a town built around a naval outpost, not a city.  So until Puerto Williams grows a lot more, Ushuaia has the honors of southernmost city in the world.

At the end of the world - iPhones work here too!
At the end of the world – iPhones work here too!

The setting is magnificent.  Bordered by the Beagle Channel and surrounded by snow capped mountains, Ushuaia is postcard perfect.  If you’re lucky the sun may come out allowing you to fully appreciate the splendor of the place.  We were fortunate to have a rare day coupled with mild breezes and relative warmth.   Well, at least for an afternoon.

For those who can afford the luxury; Ushuaia has a five star hotel.  Nope, we didn’t stay there.  However we did stay at a hotel with some great views of the Beagle Channel and surrounding mountains.

We walk a lot when on vacation and often stumble across things a bit off the beaten path.  Here are a couple of things we saw while walking plus a picture of Raeski all decked out in her finest summer clothes trudging up the wooden walkway to our hotel.

Checking off the bucket list

There haven’t been many updates recently and that’s because Wooly has been lazy.  However we have been wrapping up the school year and have completed our contract.

While we’ve been here we have checked off a couple of bucket list destinations – Easter Island and Machu Picchu.  Tomorrow we are traveling to another bucket list destination.  We are headed to Torres del Paine.

Along the way we will also tour Terra del Fuego, visit the southern most city in the world and the southern most continental city in the world.  Hopefully the penguins will cooperate and we’ll see a lot them while we’re down south.

We will be back in home just before Christmas.  Then we hope to get in a trip to the Lakes District of Chile before returning to the U.S. in January.  Happly holidays and safe travels everyone.